By Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
Carl Lentz IV said his knowledge of and involvement in the community has opened him up to the challenges facing the city.
"Undoubtedly, I have the best knowledge of the issues facing the city," he said. "I have the most energy and enthusiasm ... and I have the most background, experience and education to deal with those issues."
Now he hopes to address those challenges as a city commissioner. Mr. Lentz is running against businesswoman Ruth Trager and real estate agent Dale Heuermann for the Zone 1 commission seat currently held by Edith Shelley, who resigned to run for mayor.
Mr. Lentz, 36, is a fifth-generation Daytona Beach resident whose parents still live in the community. His father, Carl Lentz III, is a plastic surgeon who has practiced in the city for almost 30 years.
His work experience includes seven years in pharmaceutical sales and management and eight years as a commercial real estate broker. He is also a member of the city's Economic Development Advisory Board and served on the Board of Directors for Crimestoppers of Northeast Florida, the Daytona Beach Young Professionals Group, and the Florida Hospital Memorial Foundation.
Economic development is a key priority in Mr. Lentz's campaign. After he graduated from the University of Central Florida with his Master's in Business Administration, he felt "deterred" upon his return home because many friends he grew up with left the area due to a lack of economic opportunity.
He feels the area needs "significant opportunities" to keep young professionals in the city.
"We need to nurture and encourage our local businesses to grow," Mr. Lentz said. "As a result of their responsible growth, we'll have new jobs that stay in the community and business owners who are loyal to the community."
He also supports the idea of hiring an ombudsman who would assist in the creation of new businesses and aid existing businesses as a means of making the community more business-friendly.
Mr. Lentz also lists infrastructure as a top issue. Although past officials raised concerns about addressing infrastructure improvements, he feels infrastructure has been neglected too long.
Plans to repair Orange Avenue are "a good start," he said, adding that updating infrastructure is essential to "have healthy and reasonable growth" in the city.
"Unfortunately, there's no instant gratification with infrastructure," he said.
On the topic of crime prevention, Mr. Lentz highlighted his "strong relationships" with the police department and the State Attorney's office that he built during his time on the board of directors of Crimestoppers. He said he wants to expand those relationships to ensure "a safer and more peaceful Daytona Beach." For example, he said he would work with the State Attorney's office to prosecute repeat offenders.
Another goal he has as commissioner is to be accessible to citizens and familiar with their concerns. If elected, he would hold monthly community meetings where citizens could speak about issues and have weekly office hours where he would be available for one-on-one discussions.
Mr. Lentz said he wishes to make the city a place where the citizens take pride in their community.
"As soon as we begin to establish pride in our community, others from outside the community will recognize that pride and be encouraged to live and work here," he said.